Poisons and chemicals from pharmacy

Quick reference guide

The Poisons Act 1972 was amended on the 26th May 2015 changing how poisons are classified. This guide summarises this information.

Regulated substances Reportable substances

Part 1 - Regulated explosive pre-cursors 

Hydrogen peroxide over 12% w/w

Nitromethane over 30% w/w

Nitric acid over 3% w/w

Potassium chlorate over 40% w/w

Potassium perchlorate over 40% w/w

Sodium chlorate over 40% w/w

Sodium perchlorate over 40% w/w

Sulphuric acid over 15% w/w

Part 2 - Regulated non - medicinal poisons 

Hydrogen Cyanide
(Use: metal cleaning, electroplating)

Lead acetates 
(Use: painting, soldering, target shooting, pottery)

Oxalic acid over 10% w/w
(Use: stain removal, leather tanning, bee keeping and general purpose cleaning)

Barium Salts other than sulphates, carbonates and silicofluoride (Use: chemistry experiments)

There are other P2 poisons, however we are unaware of potential uses by the general public.

Part 3 - Reportable explosive precursors


Aluminium nitrate

Ammonium nitrate

Calcium ammonium nitrate

Calcium Nitrate


Magnesium powders

Magnesium nitrate hexahydrate

Potassium Nitrate

Sodium Nitrate

Part 4 - Reportable non-medicinal poisons 

Aldicarb, alpha-chlorase, ammonia, arsenites, barium salts, carbofuran, cycloheximide, dinitrocresols, dinoseb, dinoterb, drazoxolon, endosulfan, endothal, endrin, fentin, formaldehyde, formic acid, hydrochloric acid, hydrofluoric acid, mercuric chloride, metallic oxalates, methomyl, nicotine, nitrobenzene >0.1%, oxamyl, paraquat, phenols, phosphoric acid, various phosphorous compounds, potassium hydroxide, sodium hydroxide, sodium nitrite, thiofax, zinc phosphide

Legislation requires that suspicious transactions, significant disappearances and thefts are reported.

The duty to "report" applies to attempted transactions and requests whether or not a substance is available from the seller.

If suspicious about a transaction report to the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789321. If there is significant theft or loss report to the police on 101

Tips for spotting suspicious requests

Purchaser unsure about what the substance is for or how it is used

Requests for unusually large quantities or repeated requests

Reluctance to provide proof of ID or address

Pays with cash

 Disappearances and thefts

Significant or unusual losses

 Details to report can include:

Product Description of person e.g. sex, age, height, build

Name and address of customer (if known)

Before supplying to a member of the public you must:

  1. Check the purchaser has a Home Office licence
  2. Check to see if it is unaltered and in-date
  3. Check ID - supplies CANNOT be made to third party
  4. Check substance requested and total quantity match the details on the licence
  5. Record details of the transaction onto the licence

For P2 regulated poisons make an entry into the poisons register:

  1. Date of supply
  2. Name and address of purchaser
  3. Name and quantity of regulated poison
  4. Purpose of purchase
  5. Signature of purchaser

Labelling: In addition to being CLP compliant, all supplies must be labelled 'Acquisition, possession or use by the general public is restricted' or similar wording

Supplies do not require the purchaser to hold a Home Office licence.

If your pharmacy supplies poisons or chemicals, before agreeing, consider whether the request is suspicious (see above) and whether appropriate commercial alternatives and sellers are available.

Labelling needs to be compliant with the CLP (Classification, Labelling and Packaging) Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008.

Where to go for further information

Home Office - 500